Where to now for 96fm’s Gary Roberts?

This afternoon’s announcement from ARN said that “Gary Roberts AM has decided to leave 96FM in December when his contract ends, to focus on a major new event.”

What could that “major new event” possibly be?

Reading between the lines, clearly, he’s not retiring, or ‘pursuing personal interests.’ And if he was going to another network, ARN wouldn’t be so enthusiastically teasing a “major new event.”

So, perhaps he’s taking a bigger, even more important role at ARN or its parent company HT&E. Or, could it be that the man who hired Joan Warner to head up CRA 20 years ago, is going to replace her when she steps down from the role next year?

Mr Roberts assured me that none of the above is true. What is true is that he has a new project – not in radio. He’ll likely be able to reveal details of the project is by mid 2022. But for now, an airtight confidentially agreement prevents him from saying more.

-Peter Saxon

Read the full statement from ARN, below.

Gary Roberts has decided to leave 96FM in December when his contract ends, to focus on a major new event.

ARN says his decision comes after the achievements at 96FM, since returning to the station in 2019 to take up the newly created position of Managing Director.

Roberts says, “Success is always about the right people, in the right place, at the right time and that is what has been achieved at 96FM. This team is the best in the station’s history and will continue to deliver great outcomes for ARN. 96FM is a great heritage brand and I am delighted to have been part of the team rebuilding it in Perth.”

ARN CEO,Ciaran Davis says,  “Two years ago, we were lucky enough to entice Gary to join ARN in the role of Managing Director for 96FM. 

“Gary has provided the leadership needed to build up and stabilise the Perth team. He has recruited some exceptional people, built a fantastic ‘can-do’ team environment and, from a ratings perspective, has delivered more for 96FM that we could have hoped. 

“At this time last year 96FM was Number 1 for the first time since 2013 and in the most recent survey delivered the station’s highest ever cumulative audience of 450,000. 96FM is currently the #2 station in a very competitive market and #1 in the target demo of 35-65. This is a fantastic result for our 96FM team locally in Perth, and across the country for the ARN network.  

“I wish to personally thank Gary for taking on the challenge two years ago and want to publicly acknowledge his achievements. He is a true radio man and Perth radio, and indeed our industry overall, is in better shape because of his involvement. We all wish him the very best wishes for the future – he’s a legend.”

In addition to his role of Managing Director, Gary’s previous roles at 96FM have included Program Director for four years, when the station launched in 1980, before becoming the General Manager, a position he held for in for eight years, departing in 1992.

Gary is the only person in Australia to have managed all commercial FM stations in one major market. Prior to returning to 96FM he was the Managing Director of Nova 93.7 for 16 years.

In the 2020 Australia Day Honours, he received a Member of the Order of Australia medal for his incredible contribution to the Australian radio industry.

Gary’s last day at 96FM Perth will be December 10 when 96FM will revert to a functional reporting structure and will implement the Market Leadership model that aligns with all other ARN stations nationally.

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